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Thread: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    So... which are the EL84's with the most headroom that sound more big-bottle-like? What are the JJ 6V6S's of the EL84 world? Is it TAD EL84STR's or the Sovtek EL84M's or something else?

    Thank you.

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Actually...JJs are.
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    Mojo's Minions Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    The TAD's sound more like a 6V6 than a EL84 to me. In current production and a sane price they are the ones I will recommend.
    Have JJ's, Sovetecs, Shunghangs and Mullards on hand and own 2 El84 amps now. Have the Mullards in my Boogie but running the TAD's in the Zinky.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Interesting. Thank you guys.

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    Super Toneologist justFred's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Mesa’s sound best in my studio .22. Have tried JJs as use them in most other amps. Don’t know for sure if it’s the way the amp is set up or the tubes themselves but the Mesa EL84s definitely have more headroom and are louder.

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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    ive heard good things about the tads but i believe they are slightly bigger bottles

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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    ive heard good things about the tads but i believe they are slightly bigger bottles
    I believe they are the 6ca7 size bottles. So yes, bigger.
    Iíve never tried the TAD branded ones but I have a set of Sino (possibly the same tube only rebranded?)in my amp atm. I think they sound fantastic.

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    Mojo's Minions Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Quote Originally Posted by justFred View Post
    Mesa’s sound best in my studio .22. Have tried JJs as use them in most other amps. Don’t know for sure if it’s the way the amp is set up or the tubes themselves but the Mesa EL84s definitely have more headroom and are louder.
    I like the Mullards in my Mesa Subway better than anything else I have tried. To me the amp was a little stiff and the Mullards will compress and break up a little making the amp feel softer and more forgiving to play.
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gtrjunior View Post
    I believe they are the 6ca7 size bottles. So yes, bigger.
    I’ve never tried the TAD branded ones but I have a set of Sino (possibly the same tube only rebranded?)in my amp atm. I think they sound fantastic.
    6CA7 size bottles?. The talk is about EL84's, not EL34's.
    Al

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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    my understanding is the tad el84 str use slightly bigger bottles (dont think they are crazy big) due to thicker glass, not sure what jr is speaking to but id be surprised if they were that big. some el84 amps dont have the extra two mm clearance for bigger bottles

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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zombiwoof View Post
    6CA7 size bottles?. The talk is about EL84's, not EL34's.
    Al
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Probably Russian 6P14P-EV's (or EB's). They have a huge amount of headroom, bigger bottles, thicker glass & can handle really high voltages on the plate. I read somewhere (probably Audiokarma) that the TAD's are based on this tube but specially made in China to TAD's specs. Never tried them though.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    So I found a place locally that sells Sovteks. I thought I'd got the EL84M's, but when I got home, I realized they were just the regular EL84's, not the M's.

    Regadless, the change was nice over the JJ's. Not any more headroom, but not any less either, and a bit chunkier bottom-end and more aggressive high mids.

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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Keep in mind the bottle size doesnt automatically equate to more headroom. Some of the highest headroom 6L6's come in relatively small bottles. Its about the specs of whats in the bottle not the bottle itself.

    That being said you really should try some RCA 7189, they are an uprated tube that fit the same application as the EL84, While not as heavy duty as the 6n14n-EB they have a smoother compression when pushed hard.

    When it comes to audio applications the extreme duty tubes dont always sound so good tubes like the 6n14n or the 7320 were made for industrial or military applications and exactly what makes them heavy duty can make the a bit sterile for guitar amp use.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    I'm still on the hunt for the least EL84-sounding EL84, lol. I actually ordered a set of TAD EL84STR's. I think I'm going to get a set of Sovtek EL84M's (current production 6n14n) too to see which have the most EL34/6L6-like tone.

    I do like the Sovtek EL84/6BQ5 (their standard non-military-grade offering) better than the JJ EL84, but they're still not quite there. They're more open-sounding (slightly more highs and lows) than the JJ's, but they're still a bit too EL84-like, LOL. They're not far off, though, so I have high hopes. We'll see if the EL84M's or EL84STR's give my amp that tiny little push it needs to sound bigger.

    I actuallly wouldn't mind "sterile" as long as it means less compressed with more high and low-end extension. Like I said, I don't need them to sound radically different than the Sovteks I have in there at the moment, just a tiny weeny bit bigger/cleaner.
    Last edited by Rex_Rocker; 06-19-2019 at 09:52 AM.

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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    curious to hear what you think of the tads once you get them in

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    curious to hear what you think of the tads once you get them in
    Well, for starters, I just learned it's the same tube Ruby offers as the EL84C for a bit less money, haha.
    Last edited by Rex_Rocker; 06-19-2019 at 06:37 PM.

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    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Default What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    They claim TADs go through the most rigorous testing and approval process. Donít know what process Ruby uses to test and weed out poorer quality tubes.
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  19. #19
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    I've had good nothing but good experience with Ruby tubes, myself, but I always get them off Doug's Tubes or some third party vendor who further tests them. Hell, they come stock in Diezel amps. Surely they can't be too bad.

    We'll see if the TADs stack up to the hype, though. They're scheduled for delivery today! Woo!
    Last edited by Rex_Rocker; 06-20-2019 at 09:27 AM.

  20. #20
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the cleanest and loudest EL84's?

    Well... they sound nice, but saying they sound 6V6-like is a pretty blatant exaggeration.

    They do sound cleaner/clearer than the Sovteks, but the difference is not night and day. They do have a little bit less cloudy mids and a bit more top-end detail, but the low-end is pretty much the same.

    Overall, I like them, but they're not what I expected.

    Here's a small clip. The TADs first, Sovteks second: https://www.dropbox.com/s/n9ko86xzcz...ovtek.mp3?dl=0

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